Will There Be Anything Left for Deadline Day?
Guess the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche didn't like their teams.
In two big deals on Friday, the Blues swapped captain Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay, then after flying home from Buffalo announced a whopper of a trade in which former No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson, a defenceman drafted in 2006 with the idea he would be the foundation of the St. Louis blueline for a decade or more, was peddled to Colorado.
Winger Jay McClement and a conditional first rounder went to the Avalanche, who packaged power forward Chris Stewart, defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk and a conditional second rounder to the Blues. Earlier in the day, Colorado had dealt goalie Craig Anderson, who received Vezina Trophy consideration a year ago, to Ottawa for Brian Elliott.
Geez, given all that the Blues, Leafs, Bruins, Senators and Avalanche have already done with the trade deadline still nine days away, you wonder how much there will be left to be done on that big day.
Johnson played only 203 games in St. Louis, none in the playoffs. To compare, even Patrik Stefan, the bust first overall pick of Atlanta in '99, skated in 414 regular seasons as a Thrasher before that team decided he wasn't their franchise player after all. Alexandre Daigle, arguably an even bigger bust, played 301 games in Ottawa before being shipped out.
So on the surface, it sure seems the Blues gave up on Johnson awfully quickly. The big blueliner never seemed to get his career going in Missouri after ripping up his knee in a freak golf cart accident after his rookie season.
The Blues still have lots of young players, but Johnson was supposed to be the cornerstone. Instead, he's headed to Denver after the Blues started strong this season but fell. In fact, this was a peculiar deal between the 13th team in the west, the Blues, and the 14th, Colorado.
The Avs, meanwhile, were a playoff team in the west last year, with both Stewart and Anderson primary individual contributors. Including this deal with the Blues, the Avs have moved their first round picks in the '04 draft (Wojtek Wolski), '06 draft (Stewart) and '07 draft (Shattenkirk) over the past year.